Activist questions LDV DC, says an independent body should have done social auditing

[Karyir Riba]

ROING, Oct 8: Social activist Vijay Pertin, who had recently alleged that the Lower Dibang Valley (LDV) deputy commissioner had mismanaged the district’s Covid fund, presented his objection during the social audit called by the DC on Wednesday.

Pertin called the social audit “irrational, invalidated and unjustified as per legal norms,” and questioned how the DC could call an audit while she herself is the prime accused in the alleged mismanagement of the Covid fund.

“It does not make any sense. If the DC thinks her image is clean, she should have invited a statutory audit body from the national capital or from the state capital,” he said.

Based on his RTI findings, Pertin had on 1 October made and released several videos on social media to prove that the district’s Covid fund had been mismanaged. He claimed that during his field inspection he found some of the bills to be fake, and that students who stayed in the quarantine centres said they did not receive essential facilities, including hygiene, maintenance and nutritional food, as per the guidelines.

Although the DC presented rebuttals to the claims made by Pertin during the social audit, to which she had invited all the HoDs and members of CBOs, NGOs and student unions, Pertin said he condemned the DC’s statement that the allegations made against her were rumours floating on social media.

“It is there for all to see in my videos made during the field inspection. The quarantined students themselves have said that nothing was provided to them. The first batch received a bucket and a mug each, but the next batch on, they were asked to share one bucket and a mug amongst 3-4 of them. No nutritional food was provided; there was no hygiene maintenance, and no timely visits by doctors and nurses. That’s an absolute violation of the WHO’s recommendations and the guidelines issued by the NCDC,” he said.

While the DC cleared the allegations over some of the bills, Pertin claimed that “she did not mention about one of the shops in Upper Market, from where several items were purchased, amounting to bills of almost Rs 11 lakhs, but the shopkeeper could not show me his carbon copy of the original bills issued in the name of DC Roing.”

Pertin said that “whatever the DC has said in her social audit and her interview are all flimsy and has no substantial evidence to substantiate her clarification in her self-styled auditing with CBOs, NGOs and student unions, who are not even part of the appropriate government authorities in this matter.”

Countering the DC’s statement that some people misuse and have misconceptions of the RTI Act, 2005, Pertin said that he is an honest RTI activist and a law abiding citizen “with both knowledge and experience of the act.”

Pertin said he will now approach higher authorities, so that the government recommends forming an SIT and a high-level inquiry is made into the matter.

“This is about a pandemic, which is not a joke. It is our democratic right to raise our voice against corruption,” he said.